MASSYS, Quentin 
Ecce Homo 
c. 1515

The 28 Meditation of the second examination of Christ by Pilate.
When Pilate heard that speech he feared more, and entered again into the Palace, and said unto him, whence art thou? but Jesus gave no answer.
Consider first, that Pilate being an Ethnic, and possessed with the error of the Gentiles, feared least Christ was the Son of some God, as perhaps of Jupiter, or Mars. For so the Poets feign of Romulus, and Remus, and of divers others: and Christ his modesty in answering, and his gravity of manners confirmed this opinion. He feared therefore the indignation of the God his Father, whose Son he had so unjustly whipped. The Gentiles feared the vain wrath of the Gentile God, and feared not the grievousness of his sin: neither did the Jews fear the most just wrath of the true God. Thou likewise doest fear sometimes shadows, dreams, and childish fancies; and art not afraid of the Devil, who is always at thine elbow, when thou sinnest; nor the district judgement of Christ, whom thou doest offend; nor Hell mouth gaping for thee.

Consider secondly (Whence art thou) Evil men neither know God the giver of all good things, nor from whence any good commeth to them. The Ox knoweth his Keeper, and the Ass, the manger of his Lord. Hence, Cats, and Hogs when meat is cast unto them, lift up their heads, and look upon them, that cast the same: And man, who hath received so many benefits from God, doth neither thank, nor know God.

Consider thirdly, that Christ made no answer. First, because it was not necessary seeing he had manifested his innocence before; and also satisfied this question, saying: My Kingdom is not of this world: I was born for this, and for that I came into the World, &c. For our Lord spake but seldom, and necessary things, and (as St. Chrysostom saith) least he might seem proud by his continual silence. Secondly, least by his answers he might be thought desirous to escape, and to avoid death, which he might easily have done, if either he himself, or any other for him had seriously defended his cause. Thirdly least he should give holy things unto Dogs. For at this time Pilate by his great sin of whipping him, had made himself unworthy of an answer at Gods hands. Fourthly, because an Heathen man could not understand the answer of that, which the Angels cannot conceive. For from whence is that Person, which with his Majesty filleth both Heaven & Earth; which always springing in the bosom of the Father, is always born and perfect; whose generation no man can declare. Thou therefore pondering in thy mind the Majesty of thy Lord, and seeing him before this wicked President thus fowly torn, deformed, with so many stripes, and covered with so many spitting, filth, and torments, admire and ask him, whence art thou? Art thou he, whose Father is God, whose Servants are the Angels, and whose Kingdom is Heaven? For if we may judge of a man according to his habit, thou seemest to be a Worm, rather then a Man, Brought forth of the dirt, rather then coming from Heaven.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J. 


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